Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Dems Claim Win in Wash. Governor's Race

"OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Democrats have claimed victory in the race for Washington governor by a razor-thin margin of eight votes, citing preliminary results of a hand recount they say puts Christine Gregoire in front for the first time. Republicans maintained the race was still too close to call.

The stunning turnaround was reported late Tuesday by the head of the state Democratic Party, who said party officials' analysis of hand-counted returns from King County - the last county to finish the grueling process - showed that Gregoire had eclipsed the dwindling margin that Republican Dino Rossi has held since Election Day.

'We're confident Christine Gregoire has been elected the governor of the state of Washington,' Democratic Chairman Paul Berendt said. 'I believe Dino Rossi should concede.'

Neither King County nor the state Republican Party could confirm the recount results that led to the Democrats' analysis. GOP officials have said they were likely to take the matter to court in the event of a Gregoire win.

Rossi spokeswoman Mary Lane said Republicans were studying the recount data but had not drawn any conclusions. 'It's just too close to call,' Lane said."

Democrats at the national level should take a lesson from Berendt here--he's playing this perfectly. Got an edge? Put the Repubs on the defensive and make them the disruptive, spiteful obstacles to smooth democracy.


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